10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Richard Branson’s Virgin Australia makes the list of the world’s top 20 airlines. Photo: Getty / File

Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know…

1. Signs the US economy is gathering steam are mounting, with industrial production data beating expectations overnight. Chris Rupkey at Mitsubishi Financial wrote, in an email to clients titled “Bam! Factory run rate at all-time record highs; Fed rate hikes on the radar”, that the data was not just pointing to a recovery, but “a full-on economic expansion”. “Consumer goods up 3.1% the last year, business equipment production up 5.3%, construction up 4.4%, materials up 5.1%,” he wrote. This might be a bit giddy. The FOMC meets tomorrow; few are expecting any material change to the Fed’s guidance on the path for interest rates.

2. On the markets it was a now-familiar flat session in the US overnight. Iron ore prices continue to fall, with the September futures contract now below $90, which could see the resources companies on the ASX come under pressure again today. The Nikkei back below 15,000 yesterday, closing at 14,933 after a loss of 1.09%. In China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.74%. Today there’s new car sales and the RBA minutes in Australia; regionally, the market will keep an eye on the Chinese FDI data.

3. Staggering China stat. There are many numbers thrown around to illustrate the vast scale of the growth in the Chinese economy in recent years. But this has got to be the winner. Bill Gates noted in a recent blog post that in the last three years, China has used more cement than the US used in the entire 20th century.

4. That growth has come at many costs – but none more visible than the choking, brown sludgey smog that now regularly envelops Beijing. (It sometimes even forms droplets and starts raining smog.) Bizarrely, the growing unrest in China about air quality might be something that will help the Australian coal industry. As Alex Heber reports, environmental policies are likely to increase Chinese demand for better-quality coal, which Australia has lots of. And with one in three operations in Australia running at a loss, forcing closures and layoffs, the lift would be welcome.

5. Back to Iraq. Australian special forces solders are on standby in case they are needed to help rescue diplomats from Baghdad, as militants from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continue their march through the country. Barack Obama has also announced that 275 US troops are being deployed to Baghdad to secure American facilities and protect diplomatic staff in the Iraqi capital.

6. World Cup update. Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0 in a surprisingly dominant performance featuring a hat-trick from Thomas Mueller. This is a very good result for team USA who are in the same group. Portugal’s Pepe was red-carded and will miss the next game, and in a match underway at time of writing, the Americans were leading 1-0 after scoring 31 seconds following kick-off.

7. The best way to watch it. A soccer stadium full of couches sounds like a dream. But it’s real – look:

Picture: Reuters

It’s in Berlin, where 12,000 Germans fans watch in comfort from 850 sofas as their team tackles the World Cup in a gigantic living room. Some have even brought tables, lamps and flowers to make it feel more like home. And if it rains, organisers have provided 850 waterproof covers for their couches. Brilliant.

8. Help ensure your email gets read by giving it a subject line between six and 10 words. Research has found emails with subject lines of that length have an “open rate” of 21%, whereas shorter or longer ones don’t get opened as much.

9. Double tornado. It sounds like a nightmare – unfortunately, it’s real. Twitter is flooding with reports of one touching down in Nebraska, in a phenomenon that reporters say meteorologists would study for decades to come. Check out the first pics.

10. The world’s best airlines. Business Insider’s often-controversial annual list of the world’s 20 best airlines is out, and Virgin Australia is at No.18. There’s no Qantas. And Garuda beat them both, tying at 15th spot with others.

Have a smashing day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

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